When Emely was 8 years old, she experienced a rapid heartbeat and excessive bruising.Her mother, Regina, brought her to NYP/Morgan Stanley Children’s — just four blocks from their apartment. She was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia (SAA) — a disease in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells.
While many patients newly diagnosed with SAA receive blood transfusions and/or immunosuppressive therapy to boost blood cell counts, a bone marrow donor was quickly located for Emely. She had a stem cell transplant in August 2013.
But it was no ordinary transplant.
We are one of only a handful of children’s hospitals offering CD34-selected stem cell transplantation, where the stem cell product is selected to enrich for cells that facilitate engraftment and deplete cells that cause graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).
“Many centers would have opted to try medical therapy first, since Emely did not have a sibling donor. But since she had a well-matched unrelated donor, and medical therapy can have toxicities, we went with transplantation as her initial therapy,” explains Monica Bhatia, MD, head of the stem cell transplantation program.
“She engrafted promptly with no GVHD and was back in school much earlier than our typical BMT patients. She is now thriving!”
Emely, now 9, is a healthy fourth grader who enjoys dancing, skating, bike riding, and listening to music by Shakira. Her mother is incredibly appreciative.
The care we received at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital was excellent. I am so thankful for all that they did for us.